Bengaluru, September 19: Former Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga recalled his time with the Mumbai Indians, stating that he got many fans in India and the rest of the world after playing for the five-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions.
Malinga, who is currently the leading wicket-taker in IPL with 170 wickets in 122 matches, had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket rarlier in the week.
The veteran pacer hasn't been part of the IPL from 2020 season. However, Malinga's stint with MI had ended on a rather memorable note - with a last ball win that earned Mumbai Indians a record fourth IPL trophy in 2019.
Following his retirement and ahead of the IPL 2021 season resumption, Malinga spoke about his time with Mumbai Indians, which earned him more fans as he went on to credit the people involved with the franchise.
"When I played with Mumbai Indians, I got many fans in India and all over the world. I feel all the young cricketers have a dream - to play franchise cricket, especially IPL, and the national team," the official website of Mumbai Indians quoted Malinga as saying.
"That is why I want to share my experience with Mumbai Indians, who have an excellent support staff. That is why I want to explain how I entered the IPL team."
Malinga later remembered the day he was picked up by the Mumbai Indians in the 2008 IPL Auctions and how his manager conveyed the message to him.
"In 2008, I got the opportunity to put down my name for the auction. After that, I got a call from my manager who told me that I'd got a chance to play with Mumbai Indians that year," he added.
"He asked me not to worry, and that two other Sri Lankan cricketers were there. He also mentioned that I got good owners - Mr. Mukesh Ambani and Mrs. Nita Ambani."
Malinga also added that the manager told him that he will be part of very experienced side that included the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sanath Jayasuriya and Shaun Pollock.
"The manager also mentioned about the team's support staff and the team having the most experienced players of that time. I had only 3.5 years international experience. I felt it was good to go there and get some experience to play for the national team," said Malinga.
The 38-year-old further added about his bad luck in the first season when he was injured, saying: "In 2008, I was really unlucky. First I got a knee injury, then I missed the IPL and I lost the Sri Lankan annual contract."
The second season saw some luck as Malinga played 13 matches in IPL and the veteran pacer, who was known for his toe-crushing yorkers, explained why Sri Lanka allowed him to play in T20s.
"In 2009, after one and half years, all the doctors and physios said that if I wanted to play, I would have to start short format games to continue my cricketing journey.
"It meant that I would have to play T20s. But I didn't get any chance to play in the national team and I had only one option: to go to South Africa and play in the IPL. I explained this to the SLC and they understood the situation. In 2009, I finally went to South Africa to meet my MI team," he added.
Malinga, who claimed 446 international wickets, made his Test debut against Australia in July 2004 and played his first match in ODI cricket also during the same year against UAE.
Malinga, who led Sri Lanka to the 2014 T20 World Cup title, finished with 107 wickets in the shortest format and made his T20I debut against England in June 2006.
(With Agency inputs)